In John 17:21, Jesus prayed to God that all of His disciples would be one, thus bringing the world to believe in Him. Just prior to that, in the same prayer, Jesus indicated at least seven times that the only way we would ever be able to accomplish, enjoy, and exhibit to the unbelieving world around us such divine oneness and unity, would be by standing together on His word (Vss. 6, 8, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20; see also Philippians 1:27-28, 2:1-2).
But today, we who are called and claim to be the Lord’s “one church,” find ourselves sadly and seemingly hopelessly divided over several, different, doctrinal dissensions. One of the most determined and aggressively-defended divisions in the Lord’s church is seen evidenced in the fact, that even in many small towns across America today, we have more than one congregation of God’s people, the memberships of which are often divided over, of all things, the Christ-instituted celebration of the one thing that ought more than any other to bring us forever closer together: communion!
In a 2016 published interview, it was reported that “The most recent volume of the directory Churches of Christ in the United States, published by 21st Century Christian, lists 553 one-cup congregations with a combined membership of 18,929” (“No Such Thing As Individual Communion,” Christian Chronicle, Lynn McMillon, June 22, 2016). That same interview eventually went on to reveal how one-cup brethren in Christ do not consider themselves to be in fellowship with those of their brethren who use multiple cups or containers in their communion celebration. “My beloved brethren, these things ought not to be so!”
In what is intended to be a very loving, as well as scripturally straightforward and doctrinally-sound effort to try to help heal up some of this hurtful, horrible, and gospel-paralyzing division, this writer has been very blessed and privileged by God to be able to author and have published, a brand new and scripturally in-depth work, entitled Clearing Up The Confusion: The Cup, The Cross, And The Chaos (See: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1943245258).
The book was written in the hope that it might help to start the healing process of that ugly, ungodly, ghastly and gaping wound in the beloved, beleaguered, and blood bought body and bride of our Lord Jesus Christ – before her ‘big day’ arrives. It is written for all of God’s children who would like to, in some small way, help to provide and become a part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer for a change. This, by understanding the division, helping to initiate the healing process, and to thereafter assist in inducing the oneness which will once and for all prove to a lost and dying world, the infinitely uniting love and power of our awesome Lord and Savior. As two chapters within that effort conclude:
“Can you even begin to imagine the invincible force for Christ that we could truly become in our lost world today, were we all but to completely humble ourselves before God, get on the same spiritual page, teach the same divinely-inspired doctrine, and become the one, same, united and unified church and answer to Jesus’ prayer which He prayed we’d be the very night before He was crucified (John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 4:17, 7:17, 11:16, 16:1-2)? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help steer toward the day when a new ‘Churches of Christ in the United States’ directory could be published, ‘wherein there was neither one cup nor non-institutional, no no-class nor instrumental, nor male or female pride and power driven agendas, but that we were all truly one in Christ Jesus… instead of a house divided and therefore in danger of falling, according to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 12:25)?”
Below is what some good, faithful, well-studied and highly-respected preaching brethren from several different states have already had to say after reviewing the pre-publication contents of Clearing Up The Confusion:
[This is a book] that will bless your life. On any religious subject there are scores of books, but often one rises far above all others on a vital Bible topic. I now have my copy of what I consider the definitive book standing above others on this topic. As you read this book you will see how the author combines two charges Paul gives to preachers. “Preach the word” and “The servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all … in humility correcting those who are in opposition.” Those who sincerely believe there can be only one literal cup in the Lord ’s Supper, and who read this book, will find a teacher with a compassionate heart seeking to help us all understand God’s will. This book is a masterpiece. It stands high above all other books on this topic. ~Dan Jenkins; Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Brethren and friends; [this volume] sets out in clear and unmistakable terms, the truth about the Anti (Non-Institutional) “one cup” position. It is a scholarly treatise of an issue that has divided the Lord’s church for decades. It is written in love, with the souls of men in view. The goal of this book is to teach truth and restore unity. This volume treats those who may disagree with the utmost respect, and seeks restoration based upon the Bible. The Bible demands us to follow the pattern of sound words regarding things spiritual and in all of life (II Tim. 1:13; Heb. 8:5). Douglas E. Dingley has met that demand in this volume. This book earnestly contends for the faith (Jude 3). Between the covers you will find each argument in favor of binding the “one cup” issue answered fully and in love. The author has very carefully avoided personal attacks and ascribing to them positions they do not hold. This is a “No straw man” book and will richly bless all who read its pages.
I have personally done much work and study on Non-institutionalism – and have found no greater material on this issue. I highly recommend this work. I have gladly added this great book to my library. I hope you do as well. ~Robby Eversole; Summerville, GA.
The inspired record warns us of divisions in the Lord’s body; and certainly when we look out over the landscape containing those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we see that this warning from the first century has indeed come upon us. Denominationalism is so prevalent now, that to the world, the Lord’s body appears to be a lone candle in an ocean of stars. But as difficult as this is, the most heart wrenching and damaging are those divisions within the Lord’s body itself. The church of our Lord Jesus Christ has long been the pillar and ground of the truth, but in recent years, well-meaning people who have a zeal for God and are dedicated to serving our Lord faithfully and obediently, have unnecessarily burdened themselves in a manner not in accordance with the knowledge of God’s word…
Speaking the truth in love, brother Dingley has authored this book in hopes that, in the spirit of the Bereans, honest seekers of the truth would examine their own faith and determine for themselves what is God’s will… It is my hope and prayer that all who read this work will approach it with open scriptures, and with an open heart, in an effort to seek the truth. In the end, we are all individually responsible for our own spiritual standing with God. There is nothing more important to any of us than the truth. God’s word is truth and we are all promised that if we will but keep knocking and seeking, the doors of truth will be opened to us. Please read and study this work, approaching it with the same love and concern that brother Dingley had for you when he wrote it, and I’m confident that you will be both encouraged and edified. ~David Hersey; Granby, Mo.
This book guides the reader to examine the subject and solution to these matters which have divided the brethren for too long. It is my hope that this extensive, excellent, and exhaustive study will bring the unity for which our Lord prayed (John 17); the unity that the Holy Spirit planned (Eph. 4). Paul plead for unity (1 Cor. 1:10). To be divided is to ignore the prayer, the plan, and the plea.
This book provides the reader with sound doctrine that cannot be condemned (Tit. 2:8). The study of this subject is clear, concise, and complete. The author used the tools of biblical understanding (Psa. 119:130). He handled the word rightly (2 Tim. 2:15). He gathered the scriptures on the subject (Isa. 28:9-13). It is my prayer that the readers of this book will be noble and search the scriptures (Acts 17:11) and become doers of the word (Jms. 2:22). ~David Meek; Lebanon, TN.
For any and all of God’s children who would like to take part in helping to answer our Lord Jesus’ prayer in our generation, might I humbly suggest that you please give this book and its biblical contents some very serious and studious consideration, and then go out and share them, should you too, find them faithful and worthy. This, because only with God’s help, and our thus working together as He instructed, can we finally and truly once again become that one, united, unified, and evangelistically powerful and effective church of our Lord Jesus Christ which He both prayed and died for during His final twenty-four hours of earthly life, agony, and sacrifice. And as always, and for any and all good that might ever arise as a result of these efforts: to God be all the glory; always and in all ways!